A Brooklyn neighborhood’s coal hole covers

Ephemeral New York has taken some gorgeous pictures of 19th Century Coal holes found along Fort Greene and Clinton Hill and other places. They certainly add historic character to the neighborhood!

Ephemeral New York

Coal holes are bunkers beneath the sidewalk in front of a house that originally used coal for heat: Delivery companies would drop a shipment down the hatch, and the coal could go right into the basement and wouldn’t dirty up the home.

You still see them dotting sidewalks all over the city, especially in neighborhoods with lots of beautiful brownstones built in the 19th century.

No surprise, then, that pretty sidewalks of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill are filled with decorative examples.

This one was made by Empire Foundry. A Brooklyn Daily Eagle ad from 1854 says they’re located “one block from the Fulton Ferry.”

The John Brooks foundry made this cover on Navy Street, right in the middle of where the Ingersoll Houses are today.

This lid was probably a lot prettier and more colorful back in the day. The address says 5 Worth Street; I wonder if…

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Washington Street, Brooklyn (1872-1877)

Long before the bridges even stood:

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Re-posted from the Brooklyn Museum Photostream on Flickr.

George Bradford Brainerd (American, 1845-1887). Washington Street, Brooklyn, ca. 1872-1887. Wet-collodion negative. Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Brooklyn Museum/Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Collection, 1996.164.2-1767. (1996.164.2-1767_g

‘Tenements under the Brooklyn Bridge’

A nice sketch of Water Street from 1909. I worked down there on Washington Street for nearly five years from 2001-2005. The old buildings and factories still stand, along with patches of cobblestone streets. It’s still a bustling area filled with eateries and bric-a-brac specialty shops. It’s such a pleasant place to visit and stroll around. A ton of filming for NYC based shows and movies, along with fashion shoots go on at any given time.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park for the kiddies is a wonderful thoroughfare to walk through, picnic, lounge, and just gaze at the East River and the massive Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

The drawing was labeled Washington Street, but it shows a view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Full information about this image can be found at this link on the Library of Congress website.

Washington Street Today: I have a pic or 2 of my own but would have to dig them out and scan them. (Broken scanner! Ahhrr!!!) There’s been very little change to the area as of 2012. Water street is actually the next block over.

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